Not All Anxiety Is A Disorder
Everyone experiences anxiety and fear at times these are normal and helpful human emotions that help us deal with danger. However, some people experience excessive and irrational anxiety and worries that become ongoing and distressing, and that interfere with their daily lives. This may indicate an anxiety disorder. Often there appears to be no obvious or logical reason for the way the person feels. This may make an anxiety disorder even more worrying to the sufferer.
Finding Out About Your Anxiety
Only a trained professional can give you a true diagnosis. But the above explanations should give you a better understanding of the types of anxiety disorders that affect millions of people all over the world.
No matter what type of anxiety you feel you’re suffering from, the good news is that there are genuinely effective ways to help. Many people have cured their anxiety altogether, and others find ways to make it easily manageable.
All you need to do is understand your anxiety better, choose effective treatment techniques, and make sure that you’re ready to commit to what it takes to rid yourself of your anxiety forever. These techniques are out there and available to treat your anxiety and keep it from coming back.
Was this article helpful?
Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
The main features of an anxiety disorder are fears or thoughts that are chronic and distressing and that interfere with daily living. Other symptoms of an anxiety disorder may include:
- Panic or anxiety attacks or a fear of these attacks
- Physical anxiety reactions for example trembling, sweating, faintness, rapid heartbeat, difficulties breathing or nausea
- Avoidance behaviour a person may go to extreme lengths to avoid a situation that they think could bring on anxiety or panic.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Diagnosed With Anxiety
Who Can Diagnose Anxiety Disorders
If your provider finds no signs of physical illness, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. These mental health professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They may use specially designed interview and assessment tools to figure out if you have an anxiety disorder. Typically, the provider bases a diagnosis on:
- Your reported symptoms, including how intense they are and how long they last.
- Discussion of how the symptoms interfere with your daily life.
- The providers observation of your attitude and behavior.
Providers also consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM-5. Its the standard reference manual for diagnosing mental illnesses.
Link Between Mental Health And Suicide
The link between mental health and substance use disorders and suicide is well-documented.37 It is however true that not all suicides or suicide attempts are attributed to underlying mental health or substance use disorders as shown in the chart, there is not a direct relationship between mental health prevalence and suicide rates.38
We cover suicide statistics more broadly in our full entry on Suicide, however here we attempt to distil the key findings on the links between mental health and substance use and suicide. Although mental health and substance use disorders is within the top-five causes of disease burden globally , accounting for approximately 7 percent of the burden, several authors have highlighted that such figures since they do not include suicide DALYs underestimate the true cost of mental health disorders.39
Providing a more accurate estimate of total mental health burden therefore requires some understanding of the connection between these disorders and suicide.
Meta-analyses of psychological autopsy studies of suicide across high-income countries suggest that up to 90 percent of suicides occur as a result of an underlying mental health or substance use disorder.40
While available data and studies are more scarce across lower-to-middle income countries, evidence across countries including China, Taiwan and India suggest that this proportion is significantly lower elsewhere.41
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Shortness Of Breath Anxiety
Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
In addition to the primary symptom of excessive and irrational fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms include:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread.
- Watching for signs of danger.
- Anticipating the worst.
- Feeling like your minds gone blank.
But anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the bodys fight-or-flight response, it also involves a wide range of physical symptoms, including:
- Pounding heart.
- Shaking or trembling.
Because of these physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit many doctors and make numerous trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is finally recognized.
What Is An Anxiety Disorder
An anxiety disorder is a type of mental health condition. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may respond to certain things and situations with fear and dread. You may also experience physical signs of anxiety, such as a pounding heart and sweating.
Its normal to have some anxiety. You may feel anxious or nervous if you have to tackle a problem at work, go to an interview, take a test or make an important decision. And anxiety can even be beneficial. For example, anxiety helps us notice dangerous situations and focuses our attention, so we stay safe.
But an anxiety disorder goes beyond the regular nervousness and slight fear you may feel from time to time. An anxiety disorder happens when:
- Anxiety interferes with your ability to function.
- You often overreact when something triggers your emotions.
- You cant control your responses to situations.
Anxiety disorders can make it difficult to get through the day. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments for anxiety disorders.
Don’t Miss: Who To See For Social Anxiety
What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder
This section provides an overview of the most common types of anxiety disorders.
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder
GAD is common. The main symptom of GAD is over worrying about different activities and events. This may feel out of your control. You feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD. You might feel on edge and alert to your surroundings.
This can affect your day-to-day life. You might find that it affects your ability to work, travel places or leave the house. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating.
It is common to have other conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders if you have GAD.
GAD can be difficult to diagnose because it does not have some of the unique symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Your doctor is likely to say you have GAD if you have felt anxious for most days over six months and it has had a bad impact on areas of your life.
You will have regular panic attacks with no particular trigger if you have panic disorder. They can happen suddenly and feel intense and frightening. You may also worry about having another panic attack.
Panic disorder symptoms can include the following.
You may also dissociate during a panic attack. Such as feeling detached from yourself.
Social anxiety disorder
Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following.
How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Related To Anxiety Disorders
Some people feel the effects of stress in their stomachs. People with IBS have uncomfortable problems with digestion, including stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea. They also frequently have anxiety and depression, which can make symptoms worse.
The connection between IBS and anxiety comes from the nervous system partly controlling the colon. The nervous systems response to stress may affect the stomach. Among people who get treated for IBS, anywhere from 50% to 90% may also have an anxiety disorder or depression. Treatment for IBS may include stress management and psychotherapy to relieve symptoms.
Recommended Reading: How To Relax Mind From Anxiety
Risk Factors For Mental Health
The determinants, onset and severity of mental health disorders are complex they can rarely be attributed to a single factor. Identifying potential risk factors form an important element of health research, potential prevention and in some cases, appropriate treatment nonetheless, many risk factors remain only correlates of observed patterns in mental health. They therefore need to be interpreted carefully.
The World Health Organization synthesize the potential contributors to mental health and wellbeing into three categories:29
- individual attributes and behaviours: these can be particular genetic factors or personality traits
- social and economic circumstances
- environmental factors.
In the table we see the WHOs breakdown of potential adverse and protective factors for mental health within these three categories. These factors often interact, compound or negate one another and should therefore not be considered as individual traits or exposures. For example, particular individual traits may make a given person more vulnerable to mental health disorders with the onset of a particular economic or social scenario the instance of one does not necessarily result in a mental health disorder, but combined there is a significantly higher vulnerability.
|Exposure to war or disaster||Physical security & safety|
Risk factors through the life-course
Pre-conception and pre-natal period
Infancy and early childhood
Data Availability On Mental Health
The majority of data presented in this entry is based on estimates from the IHMEs Global Burden of Disease . This is currently one of the only sources which produces global level estimates across most countries on the prevalence and disease burden of mental health and substance use disorders.
Nonetheless, the GBD acknowledges the clear data gaps which exist on mental health prevalence across the world. Despite being the 5th largest disease burden at a global level , detailed data is often lacking. This is particularly true of lower-income countries. The Global Burden of Disease note that the range of epidemiological studies they draw upon for global and national estimates are unequally distributed across disorders, age groups, countries and epidemiological parameters.46 Using these studies to provide full coverage of these disorders is challenging.
To overcome these methodological challenges the authors note:
Don’t Miss: What Drugs Help With Anxiety
Medication And Counselling Are First
When asked about the management of their mood and/or anxiety disorders,
- 95% of respondents reported that a doctor or other health professional had suggested taking prescription medication
- 70% stated that they are currently taking prescription medication for their mood and/or anxiety disorder and of those who stated they were not, 77% reported they had done so previously. Overall, 7% stated having never taken prescription medication for their disorder
- 62% reported that a doctor or other health professional had suggested getting psychological counselling to help manage their mood and/or anxiety disorder and
- 20% stated that they received psychological counselling to help manage their disorder in the past 12 months.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:
- Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
- Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.
Read Also: How Can I Get My Anxiety Under Control
Types Of Anxiety Disorders: By The Numbers
Research has revealed the prevalence rates of the various types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Generalized anxiety disorder statistics show that this condition affects 2.7 percent of the population, with 3.4 percent of females and 1.9 percent of males being affected.
- Panic Disorder: Panic disorder statistics reveal that the prevalence of this condition is 2.7 percent, with 3.8 percent of females and 1.6 percent of males being affected.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: According to social anxiety disorder statistics, this condition impacts 7.1 percent of the population, 8 percent of women and 6.1 percent of men.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder : OCD statistics show a prevalence rate of 1.2 percent for OCD. The condition affects 1.8 percent of women and only 0.5 percent of men.
- Phobias: Specific phobias are the most common anxiety disorders, impacting 9.1 percent of the population. According to phobia statistics, rates vary based on gender, with 12.2 percent of women and 5.8 percent of men being affected.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder : PTSD facts and statistics show that this condition occurs in 3.6 percent of the population or 5.2 percent of women and 1.8 percent of men.
How Does Anxiety Impact Your Every Day
Millions of people suffer from anxiety on a daily basis.
Before we begin, it is important to underline that anxiety disorders are widely present around the world. In the United States, anxiety disorders are amongst the most common mental illness.
From the 40 million US citizens suffering from mental health conditions, almost 7 million of them suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder , which we will discuss later in this article. With a further 15 million suffering from society anxiety disorder. .
Don’t Miss: Why Does Anxiety Cause Nausea
What Other Disorders Are Related To Anxiety
Both post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are closely linked to anxiety and, until recently, were classified an anxiety disorders. People with OCD engage compulsively in repetitive rituals and non-productive behaviors to as a way to disarm relentless anxiety-provoking thoughts . Brain imaging studies highlight malfunction of a specific neural circuit that both overalerts to danger and misreads signals of safety. The ritual is meant to restore a sense of safety.
PTSD involves malfunction in other neural nodes in circuits of fear and safety. Like OCD, PTSD is characterized by a misreading of danger signals it is, however, typically generated by a highly stressful situation threatening bodily danger. Months and even years later the memory of that event is so vividly triggered by non-threatening experiences it dictates safety measures that are wildly out of place and overwhelm everyday activities. Like some anxiety disorders, such as phobias, PTSD may respond to treatment involving exposure to the fear-triggering stimulus.
Why Is This Blog Post About Dsm 5 Anxiety Disorders
This post is important because it gives a comprehensive understanding of each of the anxiety disorders included in the DSM 5 Anxiety Disorders section.
It also provides a better approach to identifying the symptoms and the required criteria for someone to be diagnosed with one of these disorders.
Additionally, we now understand why they are called anxiety disorders and we are aware of what is the main characteristic common to all the disorders: the excessive and unrealistic fear and worry across different contexts or situations.
Please feel free to comment in the comments section below!
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
You May Like: What Can I Do To Help My Anxiety